You’re rising from your slumber on a Saturday morning, you may or may not be hungover, you’re craving… something… something… with eggs and potato and meat but also rocket, and maybe some chilli and lemon, also chocolate. Coffee, a coffee. And a freshly pressed juice. You need brunch.
Brunch is our favourite hybrid meal - even more so than brinner - because it’s a very specific need that’s fulfilled by a seemingly random array of delicious ingredients. When else do you get to eat confit pork, poached eggs, avocado and shoestring fries? How often do you get to eat fried chicken, potato rostis, maple syrup, and a fried egg? It’s genius. It’s brilliant. It’s not even lunch so you get to have lunch later as well.
There’s a lot of brunch options to choose from in London so we’ve written this guide, split by areas, to help you when you need help finding the perfect brunch spot.
People love to queue at the same few places in central London like there’s some sort of shakshuka shortage. But you’re a strategist, which is why you skip the queues and head for Nopi instead. This is our favorite Ottolenghi establishment for brunch, thanks to the fact that you can book ahead, and also that you can eat things like corn and polenta cakes with avocado salsa, and French toast with star anise sugar and orange yoghurt. That’s how real adults brunch.
Don’t listen to everyone else. Having a savings account isn’t what makes you an adult, and neither is pretending you understand how a mortgage works. But starting your day with marshmallow-heavy french toast just because you can, is. Because making that decision will lead you to places like Popina. Not to say that this little Mayfair spot doesn’t have scrambled eggs and all the other usual culprits on the menu, but there are some exciting alternatives that you should get involved in here. From their house special Popina’s ranchos with lime guacamole, to the green shakshuka and raclette cheese melt, their savoury menu is something to get out of bed for. And that’s not all, the French toast section - yes, a whole section - includes a Nutella marshmallow melt for when you’re not in the mood for adulting anyway.
Do you like content? Delicious, story-worthy content? Say, content of a woman dressed in a gold sequined gown playing a transparent electric violin at 11am? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you’ll like Chameleon. A seriously OTT restaurant inside a properly gorgeous Grade I listed building in Marylebone, brunch here is all about high-energy live music over delicious Tel-Aviv inspired dishes. In our opinion, the stand out brunch dish is their signature ‘cowshuka’, but you can’t go wrong with some Jerusalem bagels and their highly-dippable tahini. Prices can stack up quick, but it’s worth it if you’re after a special occasion situation in their foliage-packed garden.
The Riding House should be one of your go-tos in central London for solid versions of things like pancakes, french toast, and eggs. You’ll sit in a spacious, smart-looking brasserie with loads of bright leather sofas and a pretty bar, and it’s the kind of place you’d be chuffed to sit in on a sunny day. Their lineup of healthy-ish and vegetarian dishes is good, and It’s also an excellent choice if there are a few of you.
Some people need a coffee in the morning. While others need a Nutella-filled french toast to start their day. And some people, the ones who head to this french toast cafe on James Street, get to have both. From shakshuka and poached egg toasts, to brioche slices topped with berries and vanilla ice cream, this small cafe is serving up some excellent, brilliantly OTT stuff. Our game plan is ordering a brisket one, a nutella stuffed one, and splitting them both, that way you can get a bit of sweet and salty without rolling yourself home after.
Your old mate is in town, and they’ve come expecting to see Cara Delevingne and Snap the whole bloody thing to show off to their friends at home. You, on the other hand, can’t be arsed. Take them to Chiltern Firehouse for a trendy brunch, where they’ll love the pretty garden and fancy person vibe, but you’ll still get a very good breakfast out of it too. Order some pancakes and enjoy the fact that the waiters will make you feel as though you have a trust fund, because they probably assume you do. Don’t spend it all at once, which is easily possible here.
Breakfast at The Wolseley is definitely an occasion, and between the soaring ceilings (it used to be an old classic car showroom) and shiny tableware, it might all be a bit much to take in if you’re still feeling a bit bleary. But the food is excellent, and everything from the pastries to the classic omelette Arnold Bennett (eggs with smoked haddock) is worth the price of admission. Save it for an occasion, a big time breakfast with a potential client, or when your mum’s visiting, and be sure to remind her about it the next time you forget Mother’s Day.
You could make a solid argument that Timmy Green is the best thing to happen to Victoria in recent history, and we wouldn’t dispute it. This place is a ray of light. It’s a brilliant spot to meet friends for an Aussie-style brunch, and while there’s a healthy eating shtick here, all of the food is very good regardless of whether you give a toss about spirulina. The coconut French toast is a must-order if only because it tastes like cake, and the bacon roll is also excellent.
Dishoom is one of the best brunches in London, and a power move if you want to both please a crowd and sound like you know things. Things about brunch. We particularly like hitting this location - the brightest and airiest - for Anglo-Indian things like eggs on chilli cheese toast. The bacon naan roll is justifiably famous, but don’t sleep on the spicy scrambled eggs.
Caravan is one of London’s original brunch destinations. And though they take their coffee very seriously (even roasting their own beans) they also have a solid menu full of things like baked eggs with merguez sausage and jalapeno cornbread. There are a handful around town but their King’s Cross space is the best. It’s an old, massive warehouse and can fit literally half of Central St Martins in it or outside on its huge Granary Square-facing terrace, but it does still get rammed at the weekend. The earlier you show up, the better.
The Good Egg is one of those spots that’s always busy, even at 10am on a Monday morning. Partly because the food is so consistently good, but also because everything about the bright, chilled location overlooking Stoke Newington Church Street makes it a place you never want to leave. You’ll eat dishes with a strong Middle Eastern influence (like bacon and egg pita with date jam, or baked eggs with halloumi), and it’s best to order sharing-style. You’ll also want the honey-buttered cornbread on the table, because you are an adult and you make good decisions.
When you have a hangover or just want a nice breakfast near Angel, you go to Kipferl. It’s a cosy Austrian coffeehouse that predictably gets jammed at the weekend, so the earlier you can get there, the better. They’ll do you a comforting breakfast to soothe your pounding head, and they also have some excellent cakes as well if you just want a snack. Some of the best things on the menu are unpronounceable, like the Bauernfruehstueck (sort of an Austrian equivalent of a full English), so just point at the menu - with confidence.
The best pancakes in Islington can be found at Sunday. And despite being in the middle of nowhere, Sunday is ALWAYS packed at the weekend with people after those pancakes. Queues can often be over an hour long, even in the middle of the afternoon. Having said that, we often suck it up and wait in line for excellent versions of things like brioche french toast and chicken and waffles. It’s worth it.
If you’re a Stokey resident and you haven’t been to Esters then we’re about to change your life. If you’re from anywhere else and you haven’t been, the same applies. Esters is a little cafe off Church Street serving what we think are the best brunches in London. The menu changes daily but it’s always very creative and very good. Think French toast with whipped ricotta and cranberries, or poached eggs with charred cabbage, chorizo, and pistachios on toast. This is not your average brunch. It’s a no booking, no-way-to-avoid-the-queue thing, but get there bright and early and you’ll be fine. Either way, it’s worth it.
First and foremost Ozone is a coffee shop, yes. But limiting it to just that feels like serious understatement. Ozone Coffee and Food Emporium would feel more accurate. Located in a big old space in Leonard Street, Ozone is an excellent brunch choice if you’re around Old Street or Shoreditch. Their menu is massive but in a very good way. It goes from pancakes with apple and butterscotch to smoked haddock kedgeree with a poached egg. Again, it’s pretty popular on the weekends but it’s all about timing. This is as far from your average coffee shop as you can imagine.
You know the usual brunch spots - the tables are packed together, it’s loud, and the waiter will probably forget at least one of the things you ordered. The Spitalfields location of Ottolenghi, our favorite of those around town, is the opposite of that. It’s a calming, minimal place to grab something in the morning, and all of the food is great. The shakshuka here is legendary, and you should also get the sweetcorn and polenta cakes with a poached egg. You’ll also want to book ahead.
Hand Café is in London’s very own East Village. While that name may once have been associated with the counter-culture, this one is very much an example of conscious-culture. Tasteful shops and restaurants newly installed in the bottom of new glass builds. It’s all very Sims-y. But you know what, who cares when Hand Café is there? This Greek-ish brunch spot is easily one of the best we’ve eaten in in recent memory. Spiced chickpeas with eggs and bread. Killer toasties. The obligatory baked eggs. It’s a ten minute walk from Westfield. So if you’re unlucky enough to be there, find solace here.
Morito’s location on Hackney Road makes it feel like a neighbourhood spot, but once you’re inside, it’s immediately clear that it’s the kind of place that would murder the competition anywhere it opened. It’s always busy, and that’s because the food is top-to-bottom fantastic. You’ll find a Mediterranean/North African twist on brunch, and it’s a good way to break the habit of standard avocado toast spots. The poached eggs with spinach and chilli butter is a must order, and the bougatsa - a Cretan filo pastry with fresh cheese, sugar and cinnamon - is very good as well. Get there early or be prepared for a wait.
The Tram Store joins the ever-growing list of converted East London warehouses you’d love to loathe, but, in fact, love to love because they’re great. And what use was a tram depot anyway? There’s a carpenter who decides to become a botanist vibe going on in here, but, jokes aside, the brunch offerings are great. Portobello mushrooms in cashew (yes, cashew) cream on slabs of sourdough is delicious, plus you can add eggs. While ‘Clapton rarebit’ should be something to be scoffed at, instead you’ll just want to scoff it.
On the surface, a US-style diner opening up in Dalston might sound like an awful concept dreamed up by someone with a trust fund and nobody who will tell them the truth. But Hash E8 is actually one of our favourite spots in the area for brunch because they make very tasty food that also happens to be perfect for smashing after a heavy night of drinking. True to the diner theme, you’ll find filter coffee and classics like French toast, pancakes, and a chorizo and sweet potato hash that will cure what ails you. And not an avocado in sight. That’s a concept we can get behind.
Juliet’s is the kind of exceptional brunch spot that makes us desperate for a condiment WikiLeaks just so we can find out exactly what’s in their 10/10 hangover sauce. On a busy stretch in Tooting, you can expect big, balanced flavours, top quality produce, and a sensational pork patty bun that is basically the breakfast butty in its ultimate form. The space is casual and a touch industrial, but it’s still perfect for a coffee date, a lowkey catch-up, or just soothing a biblical hangover over one of the best omelettes London has to offer.
Indian spot Gunpowder at Tower Bridge is perfect for staving off avocado-related-boredom with ingredients like fresh chutney, dill bacon, and cardamom, whilst still keeping enough classics on the menu to satisfy your need for a good old egg and bread combo. Honestly, we’re not really sure how you’re meant to choose between the coconut pancakes and the baked eggs served with salli, but really that’s your call. And then you can grab a pastry for the road from their in-house bakery, Custard, before you leave.
From the outside, The Table doesn’t exactly look promising - its name and location on a grey stretch of road behind Tate Modern make it seem about as exciting as having breakfast alone in a Novotel lobby. But inside, there’s some cracking food and one of the best brunches south of the river. The dining room’s modern and cosy, and it’s always busy with locals catching up over eggs benedict. The coffee’s very good, and you’ll also want to consider the pancakes and breakfast burger, both of which are excellent.
Putney getting a cool little coffee shop is like giving somebody who’s already rich a suitcase full of money. They already have plenty of nice things, so it seems a bit unfair that they get more. But we’re not the jealous types and are happy to say that the coffees here are solid, and you can also get a good plate of poached eggs or avocado toast, or a stack of pancakes. It’s a busy place to sit so you might have to share a communal table with other human beings, but as long as you’ve still got that suitcase of money, you’ll probably get along just fine.
Milk is an outstanding place for brunch and among the best in this part of south London when it comes to food. There will be a wait at weekends. though staff will bring coffee while you wait, and it’s a very nice place to sit outside and people watch when it’s warm. When you do get a table, everything’s made with the same attention to detail that most restaurants reserve for fancy dinners - the banana pancakes with maple and pecan are killer, and even the sourdough with goats cheese and honey is something special too.
Sometimes the brunches of London all just merge into one big foggy memory of fried eggs. So if you’re tired of turning up to brunch every Saturday only to discover another menu that appears to be holding a social experiment called How Many Ways Can You Smash An Avocado, then we’d like to introduce you to Apple Butter Patisserie. Although this cute little Balham spot has still got those avocado bases covered, it’s also home to ‘dutch babies’. Essentially an XXL vehicle for fried chicken that is part pancake and part Yorkshire pudding, we promise this maple-syrup topped carb-fest will help you avoid any brunch deja vu. The iced Korean coffee is also a real winner.
The phrase ‘this is nice isn’t it’ is guaranteed to be said by at least one member of your brunch group if you head to Cafe Beam on Westbourne Grove. Maybe they’re referring to the hanging lights, or the exposed brick, maybe it’s the spaciousness of it all, or maybe it’s the brunch menu that includes shakshuka, a halal full english, and nutella filled doughnuts. We’ll tell you - it’s all of the above. This spot is walk-in only, and open until 6pm everyday, which is helpful if you only manage to get out of bed at 3.30pm.
If you’ve ever had manakeesh, you’ll understand how important it is that this Lebanese bakery serves them until 10pm. And they’re not any old manakeesh, but some of the best in London. The brunch at this Acton spot isn’t limited by time, you aren’t judged for rocking up at 4pm in need of some doughey, meaty goodness. You can head there at 1pm on a Sunday for a platter of minced meat and cheese, or spinach and cheese manakeesh, and it’ll be just as good as when you come at 7pm on a Wednesday. Basically, what we’re trying to say is, whatever time of day it is, get the manakeesh.
We’ve been obsessed with this Aussie mini-chain since we tried their pancakes a couple of years ago. And in the countless times we’ve had them since, we can tell you that they are potentially the best pancakes in London. We know, that’s a big claim. But the American-style pancakes at this tiny little Earl’s Court spot are just that good. Thick, fluffy, and covered in Greek yoghurt and poached fruit, they are worth travelling for. But before you reach for your oyster card, you should know that they also have spots in Clapham, Notting Hill, West Brompton, and Wandsworth Town.
Notting Hill is one of London’s prettiest neighbourhoods, and the loveliest place to have brunch in Notting Hill is at Farm Girl. This cafe goes all-in on the Aussie healthy eating up to the point where you might find yourself eating “coconut bacon.” That’s not something we would typically condone, but we actually find all of the food here (even the weird shit) to be quite good. And we’re not the only ones - Farm Girl is pretty much always mobbed.
This one goes out to all of our AM sweet tooths out there. If your brunch priority is making your way through a sugary peach spritz and several pastries then you’ll be into Milk Beach. This all-day spot in Queen’s Park has got those savoury crowd-pleasers covered, but our favourite thing here is the sweet and crunchy granola with seasonal fruit and fresh yoghurt. Combine with a St John doughnut or a slice of banana bread for peak sugar high potential.
Sometimes we like to throw caution to the wind, ignore whatever doom and gloom our weather app is offering up, and commit to an al fresco brunch. And when that urge strikes in west London we make our way to Proud Mary’s. A cosy neighbourhood cafe in Shepherd’s Bush that has that whole ‘Aussie brunch’ thing going on, it’s perfect for an optimistically sunny Saturday morning spent chatting over classics like pancakes and eggs benedict. They’ve also got great coffee from Ozone, freshly-squeezed OJ, an excellent Iced Milo, and some great vegan options too.
You’ve probably seen Bill Granger on the tellybox in some sun-drenched Sydney kitchen making sweet corn fritters, or things involving avocados and harissa. This is one of his signature restaurants (the others are in Clerkenwell, Chelsea, and King’s Cross), and it’s just as good as he is at selling the laidback Aussie dream - think tasty brunch dishes like fluffy ricotta pancakes, or toasted coconut bread that’ll hit the spot. The price to pay is a not unreasonable queue on weekdays - it’s no bookings - that stretches to 30-60 minutes at the weekend.